Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | January 22, 2008

All tied up in loose ends

“It is the loose ends with which men hang themselves.” ~ Novelist Zelda Fitzgerald

Between the whims of the calendar (Christmas and New Year’s Day fell on Tuesdays in the just-completed holiday season) and a vacation trip, I’ve been logging infrequent and irregular appearances on the opinion page over the last several weeks.

That’s left me with lots of loose ends to tie up with this week’s column. Here’s hoping I don’t hang myself:

• Bottled water debate – When Gilroy City Councilman Perry Woodward voted against a measure that bars council members from drinking bottled water while council is in session, he asked, “So now we’ll drink soda instead of bottled water? Is that better for the environment than bottled water?”

Woodward’s a smart fellow, so I’m stumped about why he’s missing the salient point: Soda doesn’t flow from city-run taps in Gilroy. Water does.

Because of that, when municipally treated tap water is available, it’s a better, cheaper and more environmentally sound choice than bottled water.

If you could turn on a faucet and get soda out of it, then “tap soda” would be a better choice than bottled soda. But you can’t, so Woodward’s using an apples and oranges comparison.

I’m glad that the measure passed despite no votes from Woodward and Councilman Craig Gartman.

• Delays in releasing public safety information – I do not understand the delays in reporting public safety information in Gilroy. In the latest case, Gilroy police didn’t provide information about a rape that occurred in the city on Monday, Jan. 15, and was reported to them on Tuesday, Jan. 16, until Friday, Jan. 18, according to a recent Dispatch article. The incident wasn’t listed in police logs that reporters check frequently. It was kept under wraps until a short-on-details press release was issued on Friday.

Thanks to reporter Christopher Quirk’s story, we now know that the suspect is “about 25 years old, 5-feet-6-inches and 140 pounds. He had a buzz cut and a bruised or swollen left eye. He wore plug earrings and black clothing and had a pierced tongue.”

I wonder if that “bruised or swollen left eye” was healed by the time the press release was issued.

Police didn’t say if the suspect was armed or unarmed.

Don’t we all – police officers, elected officials, city staff, members of the media, residents – agree that public safety is the reason that taxpayers foot the bill for police services? It seems like an easy yes. And that’s what makes delays like this so confounding.

This is the second rape case in less than 16 months where Gilroy police were tardy in releasing information to the public. In both cases, no good explanations about the unacceptable delays were offered when the rape was finally made public. Whenever the GPD gets a new police chief, fixing this problem ought to be a top priority.

• First of two primary elections – California is holding its presidential primary election on Feb. 5. If you’re a permanent absentee voter, like me, you’ve already received your ballot, which, in addition to the presidential candidates seeking your party’s nomination, contains several propositions. Mine was waiting for me when I returned from my vacation trip.

I immediately completed the presidential candidate section. As a registered Democrat, my choice was simple: I voted for Barack Obama.

He’s intelligent, inspiring, experienced, and he can win in November.

Then I moved to the hard part: the propositions. I researched them all and found them all lacking. I voted no on each and every one.

Whether you agree with my choices or not, do your duty as a citizen of this democracy; hold your elected officials accountable by casting an educated ballot. You can find the full text of the propositions and arguments for and against each at

You might bookmark the Web site, because the presidential primary election is just the beginning. The statewide primary election will be held on June 3, and the general election is set for Nov. 4.

• MHUSD Special Education Parents Forum –
If you’re a special education parent in the Morgan Hill Unified School District, you’ll want to attend an important meeting this Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m at the district offices.

The forum for special education parents will be facilitated by Jim Russell of the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA). It’s an opportunity to meet other parents who face similar challenges. It will also feature a report on progress since the last parent forum in October.



  1. […] So now there’s even less reason for wasting money and scarce natural resources on bottled water. […]

  2. […] part I emphasized in that quote is what I tried to explain in a column to Gilroy City Councilman Perry Woodward, who tried to equate bottled water with bottled soda when […]

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